Up next - let me get a cup of coffee, put my feet down, get cozy, because it's our monthly meeting of the SCIENCE FRIDAY Book Club. We have the book club regulars here with us. Flora's still with us. And joining us now is Annette Heist, senior producer for SCIENCE FRIDAY. Welcome to the program, Anette?
ANNETTE HEIST, BYLINE: Hi, Ira. Hi, Flora.
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hello.
FLATOW: And we had another classic book this month which is...
In Fairbanks, Alaska, residents are using wood stoves to heat their homes during the frigid winter months. But, smoke created by these wood burners is contributing to some of the worst air pollution in the country. Cathy Cahill discusses air quality in the Last Frontier.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 12:26 pm
Alcohol: a key babyproofing product for this little mother.
Credit Illustration by Daniel M.N. Turner / Photos via istockphoto.com
Many a mom has reached for a glass of wine after a long day of tending children. But only fruit fly moms use their version of Chardonnay to guard their babies from harm.
When fly moms see marauding wasps, they seek out the alcohol in fermenting fruit, and lay their eggs there, according to new research. The alcohol is toxic to the wasps, but not to the fruit flies. They've evolved a tolerance for hooch.
Flowers are nature's ad men. They'll do anything to attract the attention of the pollinators that help them reproduce. That means spending precious energy on bright pigments, enticing fragrances and dazzling patterns.
Now, scientists have found another element that contributes to flowers' brand: their distinct electric field.
Anne Leonard, who studies bees at the University of Nevada, says our understanding of pollinator-flower communication has been expanding for decades.
The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.
Spotted hyena cubs socialize at their communal den in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Credit Courtesy of Deanna Russell
When anthropologists work to reconstruct the lives of our own ancestors we bring together multiple sources of information. We look at fossils and material culture, such as ancient tool technologies. We even look at animals alive today whose behavioral patterns might provide clues to our past.
Melissa Block speaks with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple chairman Art Levinson about the multimillion-dollar prize they've created with other Silicon Valley illuminati to award advancements in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life. Eleven scientists have been named winners of the Breakthrough Prize this year.
Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:41 pm
Credit D. Minniti/Acknowledgement: Ignacio Toledo/VVV Survey / ESO
Sometimes behind what appears to be a mere grammatical issue hides a much deeper question of meaning.
The reader can easily check, after glancing at a handful of books and articles, including here at 13.7, that the word "universe" sometimes is capitalized and sometimes not. How is that decided, exactly? And who decides it? A choice is being made every time an author (or, more realistically, an editor) refers to the cosmos as "Universe" or as "universe." Let's ponder the reasoning behind this choice.
As many as 30 million people living from Oklahoma to the Ohio Valley are in the path of a storm moving east out of California that could dump several inches of snow in some areas and freezing rain and sleet elsewhere in the next few days.
According to the Weather Channel, the storm is caused by an "upper-level dip in the jet stream," on Wednesday.
Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:04 pm
By Andrew Prince
<strong>Carnegie Lake</strong><strong>, Australia</strong><strong>, 1999 </strong>Carnegie Lake in Western Australia fills with water only during periods of significant rainfall. In dry years, it is reduced to a muddy marsh. Flooded areas appear dark blue or black, vegetation appears in shades of dark and light green, and sands, soils and minerals appear in a variety of colors.
Satellites are powerful tools. They beam our TV signals, phone calls and data around the planet. They help us spy, they track storms, they power the GPS signals in our cars and on our phones. But they also send back striking, totally disarming images of planet Earth.
This set of images is all about showing off the "beauty of the Earth," says Lawrence Friedl, the director of NASA's Applied Sciences Program and the editor of a project called Earth as Art. "We want people to look at these images and say, 'How did nature do that?' "